tv Deutsche Welle Journal LINKTV September 13, 2012 11:00am-11:30am PDT
narrator: in the subregion of western europe, the port of liverpool was a thriving maritime gateway to the english manufacturing heartland. forged in the first age of global commerce, it received the bounty of the british empire. but containerized shipping technology has drastically reduced the labor force, permanently changing the urban and economic geography here. can liverpool make the transition from an industrial-revolution seaport to a center of the information revolution and the service economy? ( kids actively conversing ) merseyside in the beginning of the 21st century. this is the small city of bootle, just north of liverpool. neighborhoods like this have fallen on hard times.
what never changes is the love of soccer. ( crowd cheering ) in a pub around the corner, the grownups root for the liverpool football club. it's a passion. ( yelling, cheering ) the old men here once worked the docks downtown. for the young men, that's rarely an option now. ( oohing ) this is a tale of two nearby cities, united perhaps only by their support of liverpool soccer. one is the story of gritty neighborhoods that once housed the dock workers of a major european seaport.
the other is the reformed, revitalized downtown, where high-tech and service-sector workers the cheer the same teamed, in a popular new sports bar. it wasn't always like this. for many years, workers from bootle awoke each day located where the mersey rivere tenters the irish sea,. the region is called merseyside. located where the mersey rivere on the liverpool docks, longshoremen from bootle and other places once came to load and unload the cargo of an empire. man: this is what i'd call an industrial complex. it had all the bits. it had the ships coming into the port through its various dock systems, the goods being unloaded. it had around it all those who packaged and handled.
it had the stevedores and the dockers. it had the tarpaulin makers. it had the people who made the barrels. behind them, and in the same area, it had the people who took the products from the docks and put them through one stage of refining. by the middle 19th century, this was one of europe's fastest-growing cities. it was a thriving, bustling hub. in the 1860s, it was pulling immigrants in from ireland, through the potato famines. it had been pulling people in from wales, from scotland. people from all over europe were beginning to come to this honeypot. it's more like a gold-mining town, in effect, than a port city. but it grew rapidly. its population charts just show its rocketing, spiraling growth-- people drawn, in the boom of capitalism, to jobs. narrator: for almost half a ceury, liverpool maintained its position as one of the most important harbors for britain and europe. but in the 1950s things started to change.
man: one of the first things that began to happen in the postwar period was that the traditional trade of britain, with its empire, began to decline, but by the 1960s, things were changing very dramatically. narrator: just as the empire was collapsing, the rest of europe was challenging england. liverpool was even more marginal. by the 1970s, thousands of people had lost their jobs. ♪ well, i ain't got no money, ain't got no job ♪ ♪ lord, i could do with a couple of bob ♪ ♪ oh, yeah. narrator: politicians struggled to find solutions. the situation on merseyside can be catastrophic, and i don't mean catastrophic for the nation. i believe that it's in places like merseyside. in the two-and-a-half years i've been unemployed, i've applied for over 150 jobs. i've had no replies. ( crowd yelling ) narrator: liverpool became a place of unemployment and demonstrations.
the docks in downtown liverpool closed and moved north along the mersey to crosby and bootle. although the new equipment dominates the skyline here, the port might as well be gone. few bootle men work here. in fact, there is relatively little employment for anyone. huge machines replaced most dock workers, loading and unloading locked containers that came and left on trucks and trains. man: and the big difference is that the old general cargo ships were in port for a week, two weeks, maybe even three weeks. and they would employ perhaps a hundred men per day unloading and loading them for that period. the modern container ship comes into this port and is discharged and loaded in less than 12 hours by perhaps a total team of 30 men.
that's certainly an indication of how the port industry has changed. interviewer: how many people were employed here 30 years ago? um, over 30,000. and today? the whole liverpool dockers, i would say, probably, i don't know how many now-- 4,000. at the most, yeah, about 4,000 men now, yeah, yeah. do you have a lot of friends unemployed? man: yeah, yeah, plenty. plenty of people around here are. how long have they been unemployed? all their lives, some. some of them haven't worked at all, ever. man: we used to be the place where labor had power, and we feel it slipping away. so that's what you're seeing in the early '90s. narrator: ironically, the cargo here just keeps increasing. man: the amount of tonnage going through that one end of the port
is of the order of the peak of the boom of the postwar period, and is still growing. narrator: it just doesn't employ many locals. so in the 1980s and '90s, the city tried to recycle the old port buildings into offices, hotels and museums. the cunard building, once a symbol for wealthy ship owners in liverpool, and the famous albert docks, situated beside the town center, were turned into tourist area. man: all the statistics indicate that the amount of effort that's going in is less than is needed to actually halt the rise of unemployment and the decline of the population. i see the next six years as absolutely critical.
narrator: eight years later we returned to liverpool and caught up with geographer peter lloyd. the idea was to try to capture people back here, and it's beginning to work. so what we've now got is old docks doing lots of other things, but not operating as docks. because the great thing about docks is water. the great thing about water is attractiveness. the great thing about attractiveness is if you put the right buildings around it, it's cachet. narrator: and here is where the story of the other city-- the new liverpool-- really picks up. they opened a beatles museum. the waterfront hotels and restaurants are often full, and a waterfront residence fetches a high price. but the economic growth had a lot to do with public investment. this transformation of liverpool would simply, in my judgment, not have happened
without the intervention of european union structural funds. narrator: the eu was most concerned about places with the highest unemployment and poverty. and the sort of places that were normally the beneficiaries of that were spain, greece, portugal. in the mid '90s, the very first european city region to capture objective one was merseyside. that was revolutionary. the money poured out, and the city you see today, there are blue plaques everywhere with the yellow stars of the european union. narrator: in addition to infrastructure and job training, the eu funded universities. there are probably 30,000 young people here between the ages of 18 and 21 engaging in some form of higher education. all of these things have grown up in the last ten years, and what that produces is this, again, another element of the new liverpool image. the kind of... the cachet of the lively city--
the place to come if you are 18 to 21 or 21 to 25. narrator: to make his point about the new demographic, lloyd suggested that some swedish geographers go visit the downtown matthew street district on a saturday night-- the place where the beatles once played. lloyd: they were absolutely amazed. i mean, they would laugh, but i'd say slightly scandalized by the prospect of large numbers. as they saw it, "large numbers of younger women. "it was freezing cold, it was freezing cold "and they were wearing very short skirts and they did not have coats." hello. hi-ya. lloyd: they wandered about feeling, really, as if they were on some other pla ( crowd actively conversing ) they don't wear their coats because they move from club to club. this thing starts at 11:00 and goes on until 4:00. this is a lively scene. okay, what does that mean?
in terms of a kind of... the economics of that, i cannot imagine what the friday night, saturday night population of liverpool is, but it's much bigger than the daytime population. the liveverpool scene is still generating music, it's generating the kind of arts culture that spins off from that. a very lively place. lots and lots of very small arts and culture industries. so the idea here that it's a kind of fountain, a bubbling fountain of talent. liverpool is now one of the most important centers in the u.k. for the video-games business. it's got quite a number of small developing businesses in this area of merseyside on video games. narrator: new mind is a small company that designs web sites for some of the video-game companies, including rage. man: there's a lot of excitement in the city at the moment. there's a lot of, uh, you know, there is a real energy about the place, and over the last four or five years,
you can really see how that's showing itself in the companies that have grown up, especially along the waterfront. narrator: large high-tech, cultural and service sectors are new for liverpool, and they seem to have an international market. lloyd: that's a piece of product that people globally want to buy. people come here to get software for video games. people globally still want to buy the kind of music scene. people globally are buying jaguars. narrator: jaguars? that doesn't sound like the service sector. it's not, and here's where brings us back to bootle. the new jaguar plant was not funded with eu money, but much of the surrounding infrastructure was. and even though it is on the south side of liverpool, some workers, like this soccer fan from the bootle pub, now work there. there's no local industry. it's not there no more. like, that's why now we work up in the quay.
we do parts for jaguar. narrator: progress has been slow, according to lloyd, but it's moving in the right direction. at the moment, the united kingdom economy is doing pretty well. we're due for a little downturn, maybe a major downturn. that's when we get tested, and that's when we'll see if the root structures are sufficient to carry it. those root things will see you through a recession and give you a platform for the future. so let's not get too rosy-hued about this place. it's still gritty. it's a gritty town. narrator: following the conversion to containerize shipping, the labor force in working-class towns like bootle have fallen on hard times. hopes abound that downtown liverpool can make the transition from an industrial revolution seaport to a center of the information revolution
and the service economy. in the subregion of western europe, the tiny country of the netherlands feels intense pressures from opposing geographic forces. here is one of the densest populations on earth, a vital urban center at the edge of europe's heartland. yet very nearby, agriculture is a key part of the netherlands' history and economy. it now struggles to preserve its remaining open spaces. but transportation and communications are also central to its past and an integrated european future. this is a story about trying to balance these sometimes opposite forces. in dutch, holland means "hollow land." you can see its essential character in this false-color satelle photraph.
the long, green, rectangular plots are farms carved from the marshy dutch lowlands. but as you zoom back, areas of purple-gray reveal the cities and suburbs that daily encroach upon the countryside. in the north, amsterdam is the largest city, once a center of dutch colonial trade and now of global business. in the south, rotterdam is the world's largest port and gateway to germany's industrial hearth via the rhine river. the hague is the seat of the world court. utrecht is a major university center. other cities abound. but their distribution is not even. randstad, holland is a sort of ring of cities, it's open on this side, you could say, so you could say it's a sort of horseshoe of cities. the story is that just before the second world war there was already a klm,
so the klm director was flying over the netherlands and said, "hey, look, i see a whole horseshoe- shaped pattern of cities," which we call randstad. and they are situated, as you can see, around the more or less open area which we call the "green heart" of the randstad, which, until the middle ages, was a marshy area where people hardly could live. and that's how this ring of cities came into being in the higher areas around this marshy center. narrator: today, randstad covers four provinces, and while the cities remain independent entities, people here share a mental map based on their distinctive urban morphology. van der wusten: randstad literally means... "stad" is "city," and "rand" is "edge," so it's the edge, an edged city, but not like the american notion of edged city, different. so, the edged city is a city along the edges.
so the, uh... the image of it is of a horseshoe, so it's not quite a circle, but a series, a collection of cities in an edge around this green heart. narrator: today, over seven million people live in randstad and there is a lot of traffic between cities. as in the u.s., roads and buildings expand through urban sprawl. but many people resist. van der wusten: and they have seriously tried to keep the buildings low and not to build as much as was the demand, because the demand is much larger in that area than the supply of housing and employment. narrator: in the early 1990s, the green heart was targeted as the site for a new high-speed rail line called the tgv. in europe, governments heavily subsidize rail transportation, now to promote european integration.
the plan called for a fast, direct link from amsterdam to brussels, paris and the rest of the region. at the moment, the train from amsterdam to paris will take six hours. with a high-speed train on a high-speed line, it will take only three hours. narrator: but in the netherlands, the direct route would pass right through the center of the green heart. this trajectory, the advantage is it's the shortest and it is the fast trajectory. trains can drive 300 kilometers an hour on this trajectory. the disadvantage is that you have here green areas, with nature, where it is difficult to pass through. narrator: difficult to pass because the green heart is central to the dutch identity. woman: now, we... we are doing what the government is saying to us: keep your green heart green. and what they, uh... the government is, uh...
to put the tgv here, uh... through the, uh, um... through the green heart, that's not possible for us. narrator: local residents bristled at the thought of a high-speed train cutting a path through their cherished space. woman: i am an elderman of the community randwaoore, and i think the government is very wrong when they decide to have the new line for the fast train in the middle of the open heart of holland. it is strongly forbidden for us. for us it is not important to have a train of 300 kilometers, but it is important for them to have good verbindingen? good, um... connections. connections, so then, not a tgv. narrator: "not a tgv"? where would the dutch be now if they didn't invest in new transportation technology to take advantage of their strategic location in europe?
others want the speed, but in the right location. oh, yes, i think that in europe it's necessary that all the countries have very fast lines with each other. so when you be live in europe, you have to get fast trains, but not here. narrator: many people for and against the high-speed train agree that nothing should pass through the green heart. so they propose a route with good connections that might run alongside these tracks on existing rights-of-way. such a rail would pass through these pulous western cities of the randstad. but there are several key problems with this other route. the other one is longer, and you see the curves. that means that it is difficult to drive a train at high speed. it will have a maximum speed of about 200, 250 kilometers an hour.
and the problem there is that you are passing through areas where hundreds of thousands of people are living. narrator: many of those people live in the old city of delft. here, the new rail would run parallel to old tracks that currently pass through the city on an already unpopular viaduct. man: it's a busy viaduct that runs through the town, the old to center. it's a busy viaduct, a noisy viaduct, a viaduct that, uh, that pollutes the area. delft isn't very glad with it, the inhabitants aren't very glad with it, ( speaking louder ): so we'd rather tear it down and build a new tunnel, a new tunnel with four tracks, that's big enough, ( in normal voice ): with enough capacity for more trains without we having all the problems, all the noise.
narrator: but the city is almost 800 years old. it has many canals and old houses. so it would be very difficult to build a tunnel through the town center. van der wusten: if you wanted it to go through randstad, you had to use a lot of the infrastructure that was already in place. but it's very narrow, so you cannot easily construct new things. and on the other hand, it would be a good idea to not to put it into randstad, but to put it through the green heart, which is the shortest route and also gives, well, more opportunities to build something, because it's open... it's open there. so that was for a very long time a political struggle, how to... to decide about the trajectory. narrator: planners had to bring the debate to a close. they had to connect their most important transportation centers to the rest of europe by high-speed rail.
meyer: the two most important cities or places in the randstad, economically, are, of cour, the port of rotterdam, the largest in the world, and schiphol airport near amsterdam, the fourth in europe. and for these two main ports it is very essential to be connected to the european network of high-speed trains. narrator: in the north near amsterdam is schiphol, the international airport. planners foresee it as a primary center in the movement of people and freight all over the continent. like the netherlands as a whole, the airport plays a significant role in the transportation and communications of the region and even the globe. van der wusten: so the airport, schiphol, is, relatively speaking, for a pretty small country as the netherlands, a huge thing. i mean, it's the fourth largest airport in europe, and you cannot explain this by the size of the country in any sort of way.
man: schiphol wants to be one of the international airports in europe. with the unification of europe, we want to be the best, and we think that it is not only necessary to have airlines over here, but also a stop for the high-speed train. van hout: the decision the government has to me will be a choice taking into effect the economical importance, the environmental effects, the financial sides of it, and you have to decide in these things, balancing all these elements. narrator: trying to balance the competing proposals, the government found a compromise. the high-speed train will make stops in amsterdam, schiphol airport and the port of rotterdam. but rather than run directly through the green heart or through the other cities, the new line runs along the urban/green heart border and only briefly through this section of farmland. and here, the desire to preserv,
the government is spending millions to build a 5½-mile tunnel under the longest retch. and inhis way, there a was sort of compromise, a solution to the route, or trajectory, of the higspeed train. this also has to do th technology, becae there's now a run on technology in making tunnels. tunnels are very popularthe. so the tunnel of nine kilometers is now being conructed in order that you don't touch the landscape of the green heart, at least not at that point. man: the train passed our farm 300 meters from our house, and that is where, uh... where the sheep are grazing, there it goes in the ground. narrator: farmers and businessmen, environmentalists and travelers have found a compromise.
as a dense urban center on the edge of europe's heartland, randstad will continue to influence world events. dutch transportation and communications systems will continue to play a vital role in europe's and the world's economy. under constant pressure for development, the dutch have, for now, helped to preserve the green heart of holland.